I have known David for almost 15 years now. We first met in 1998/1999 when I was working at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA and David came to perform in Anna Deavere Smith's "House Arrest." After picking him up at the airport and then getting to enjoy a wonderful dinner at Geoffrey's in the South End of Boston, David and I have remained in touch throughout the years. He was very helpful to me when, at one point in my life, I was applying to various acting programs, and for my monologue, I used material from his OBIE Award winning show "The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me." David took time out to give me some direction and insight into the character and piece. I have never forgotten that time! Now, to have the opportunity to talk with David for "Call Me Adam," is truly an honor, delight, and joy!
David Drake is an actor, writer, and director who's best known as the OBIE Award winning playwright/performer of "The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me," one of the longest-running solo shows in Off-Broadway history. David also starred in "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom" (succeeding Charles Busch for 856 performances), originated the role of “Miss Deep South” in the hit "Pageant," as well as co-starring with Jim J. Bullock in "End of the World Party" at the 47th Street Theater, and with B.D. Wong in "A Language of Their Own" at The Public.
As a stage director, David has twice been a Directing Fellow at the Sundance Theater Lab, and has directed new works at The Public’s Under the Radar Festival, Joe’s Pub, and Rattlestick, among others. Most recently in New York, David was a director of the 2009 world premiere of Taylor Mac’s "The Lily’s Revenge," which made the “10 Best Lists” in The New Yorker, The NY Post, The Advocate, Paper Magazine, and won a 2010 Village Voice Obie Award.
In addition to theatre, David has guest-starred in several TV series and starred in such films as "Law & Order," "The Beat," and "NY Undercover," Jonathan Demme’s "Philadelphia," "It’s Pat," "Naked in New York," "David Searching," "Bear City," "Longtime Companion," and his own adaptation of "The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me."
Now, David, as his alter ego "Tawny Heatherton," is bringing his new show, "My Tawny Valentine" to NYC's Laurie Beechman Theatre. This show marks the unheralded return of Tawny Heatherton, a lovably eccentric showbiz survivor and “one hit wonder” of the disco zeitgeist of the early 1980s. Tawny brings her singular blonde-swept brand of sunny, funny optimism while recalling stories of wandering the globe performing her disco "hit," her headline-grabbing turn as the unwitting "Pyro Girl of Long Island," her short-lived stint as a "Hee-Haw Honey," and reuniting with her long-lost aunt Joey Heatherton at the Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino.
"My Tawny Valentine" plays Feb 17, 24, & March 2 at 7:30pm at the Laurie Beechman Theater (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue). Tickets are $20 plus a $15 food/drink minimum and can be purchased by calling 212-352-3101 or visit www.SpinCycleNYC.com.
For more on David be sure to visit http://www.daviddrakeproductions.com.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My mom.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? David Cromer.
3. How did you decide to create Tawny Heatherton? She was born from a wig turned backwards.
4. What do you get from performing as Tawny that you don't get from performing as yourself? Waking up with glue in my eyelashes the next morning.
5. How did you come up with the title and concept for "My Tawny Valentine"? Ever heard of the song “My Funny Valentine”? The title is connected. Now the concept of “My Tawny Valentine” is connected to the thingies Tawny loves most in the world, which are at the heart of any Valentine story. And for Tawny these revolve around the core principle elements of nature: Earth, Fire, Water and Air. It’s spiritual. While she’s traveled on a rocky showbiz path, Tawny’s an old soul...with a hippie girl spirit.
6. What excites you about bringing Tawny to NY? Unleashing her on the world.
7. What is your favorite part of the creative process in putting a show together? The writing. And working with my collaborators.
8. Where is your favorite place to write? Diners.
9. The two shows I've seen you in are "The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me" (the movie version) and "Son of Drakula." Looking back, what was the best part about performing these two shows? The continuum of the audience, and wanting to give them something urgent from my heart.
9a. What does it mean to have had one of the longest running one-man shows in theatre history ("The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me")? Service, gratitude and an Obie.
10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Think out of the box.
11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Oh, Henry Havelock Ellis! Look him up!!
BONUS QUESTIONS: Answers by Tawny...
12. Favorite way to spend your day off? Chasing rainbows.
13. Favorite way to stay in shape? Chasing rainbows!
14. Boxers or Briefs? Panties.
15. Favorite website? http://www.therainbowwarriors.org/